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Abortion Rights Organizations Urge UN to Announce Official ‘International Safe Abortion Day’

An effort called the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion is calling upon the UN to declare September 28 the official “Safe Abortion Day.”

The campaign is a coalition of 430 groups – including Planned Parenthood and NARAL – from 73 countries, that says it supports “safe abortion as a woman’s right on both public health and human rights grounds.”

The initiative launched, according to its website, as a reaction to “conservative political and religious forces” which are pro-life.

According to the campaign:

Almost everyone we talked to about starting this Campaign felt there was a growing need to link together and combine our efforts towards ensuring the right to safe abortion in all our countries. We agreed that we needed an international movement to challenge the growing threat posed by conservative political and religious forces who are seeking to turn the clock back, block efforts to improve abortion laws and provide services, and exclude abortion from maternal mortality reduction and family planning initiatives.

As CNSNews.com reports, the campaign sent an open letter calling for the announcement of a “Safe Abortion Day” during the UN’s General Assembly in September. The letter was sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of these UN agencies: UN Women, UN Development Programme, World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, UN Children’s Fund, UNAIDS, and UNESCO.

The letter states:

There are major public health reasons why we are asking you to take this stand too. The annual number of abortions worldwide has increased from 50·4 million (1990-94) to 56·3 million (2010-14) because of population growth. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Yet half of all abortions internationally are still unsafe, making the need for concerted action urgent.

Women are still suffering and dying from complications of unsafe abortion. Globally, deaths from unsafe abortion were estimated at 43,684 in 2013, accounting for 14.9% of all maternal deaths…

“We know from evidence that access to safe abortion saves lives – and we know exactly how to provide these services too,” said Dr. Eunice Brookman-Amissah, former Health Minister of Ghana, in a press statement.

“The date was defined as a day of struggle for abortion rights in a region where some of the most draconian laws criminalizing abortion were and still are on the books,” said Sonia Correa, co-coordinator of the Sexuality and Policy Observatory, Sexuality Policy Watch in Brazil, in the same statement. “The choice of date was inspired by the abolition of slavery for children born to slave mothers in Brazil in 1871, when it was named the Day of the Free Womb.”

Additionally, Marge Berer, who coordinated the initiative, said:

Safe abortion is an essential health service for women. Would anyone today deliberately withhold effective HIV treatment or safe contraception from people who need them? Why, then, is it still acceptable that safe abortion is being withheld from so many women and girls with unwanted pregnancies?

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association, however, reacts to Breitbart News, “A procedure that stops the beating heart of a developing human and wounds the heart of his or her mother could never be safe.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, also tells Breitbart News she sees hypocrisy in the campaign for “safe abortion.”

“It’s hypocritical for abortion rights advocates to ask for a day of safe abortions when they stood and cheered for the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned a law which would have protected women from predatory abortionists and the unsafe conditions under which they operate,” she observes. “When Kermit Gosnell was operating his abortion facility under disgusting and inhumane conditions, the abortion industry turned a blind eye, even after women were killed on his watch.”

“The abortion industry doesn’t care about women – here or abroad,” Hawkins asserts. “They will do whatever it takes to line their pockets and stuff their bank accounts.”

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